A Treasure Trove Of Learning Resources

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There was a time not long ago when a teacher’s primary resource was the Teacher’s Book of the textbook selected by the school. Now, teachers have gone from relying on a handful of learning resources to navigating the unchartered niches of the Internet. There’s a limitless number of edtech tools and online resources available for teachers. The problem is no longer about finding them, it’s about finding the right ones for your students. Enter Lesson Planet.

Founded by educators for educators, Lesson Planet is passionate about creating innovative digital tools and learning resources to K-12 educators, librarians, curriculum and technology specialists, and homeschooling parents. For over 20 years, Lesson Planet’s team of experienced teachers have been curating and building tools that can be searched by grade, subject, Common Core State Standards, helping educators save time with their curriculum.

The idea for Lesson Planet was born in 1999 when founder, Jim Hurley, was teaching educational technology courses to K-12 teachers at UC Santa Barbara. Although teachers were excited about using the Internet, Jim noticed all the wasted time they spent scouring the Web for online learning resources. Lesson Planet was started to help educators spend less time searching, so that they could spend more time teaching. Since those early days, Lesson Planet has helped millions of teachers find new and engaging lesson ideas that continue to inspire student learning.

female teacher with learning resources

There are currently two Editions that teachers can use to access online learning resources: the Educator Edition and the Learning Explorer Edition.

The Educator Edition

Save time lesson planning by exploring a library of educator reviews to over 550,000 open educational resources (OER). Discover the best online learning resources at your fingertips. The Lesson Planet expert team combs the web to identify and curate top quality lesson plans, videos, worksheets, and more. Every learning resource is reviewed and rated using a rigorous review process. Powerful filtering tools let you refine your search by grade, subject, standards, and more to find just the right resources.

With an easy and fun drag & drop interface, you can drag-and-drop inspiring learning resources to build personalized collections for your students using the award-winning Collection Builder tool. Then, you can easily reorder collection items, upload your own files, add web links, images, custom pages, and even share your collection with other educators, using the Collection Editor tool.

Easily manage all of your custom collections with the Curriculum Manager tool. Organize your curriculum and courses to meet your instructional needs. Simply drag-and-drop from one collection to another to organize your assignments, lessons, units, and courses. Upload your own files to personalize your lesson planning, and easily share, copy, play, and assign your collections.

Finally, use the Collection Player tool to present your lesson plans to students on any device. Quickly assign collections or individual resources to students using a password-protected URL or via a Learning Management System such as Google Classroom or Canvas.

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The Learning Explorer Edition

Creating inspiring curriculum takes time. Providing your students with a more personalized curriculum often means spending endless hours on the web hoping to find just the right resources. What if you could find, manage and deliver top curated content all available in a one-stop, single sign-on, easy-to-use, integrated curriculum solution? This is what the Learning Explorer Edition is all about.

Teachers use the Resource Finder tool to search Learning Explorer’s huge library of learning objects (includes top, curated OER content and premium educational publisher content) to discover just the right learning resources for their students.

Once teachers find relevant learning resources, all they have to do is drag-and-drop them into their own custom collection of learning objects using the Collection Builder tool. They can also easily edit collections, upload their own files, add URL links, or even build a custom page for their collection.

The Learning Explorer also allows teachers to easily design, plan, and manage their curriculum using the Curriculum Manager tool. Here, teachers can view all of their custom collections, remixed collections, and saved learning objects in one easy-to-use interface, where they simply drag-and-drop to organize their assignments, activities, lessons, units, and courses.

When teachers are ready to share, publish, present, or assign their curriculum collections, the Collection Editor & Collection Player tools make it easy. Collections can quickly be assigned to students via an LMS, Google Classroom, or as a password protected URL.

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PD Learning Network

But learning never stops. Especially for teachers. Lesson Planet helps educators to successfully integrate technology into instruction and learning with their online PD courses.

The PD Learning Network features engaging 15-hour courses, comprised of bite-sized learning modules, individualized through videos, graphics, interactive websites, and inspiring articles. Learning outcomes are identified in syllabi and aligned to international teaching standards.

As for assessment, PD Learning Network’s credentialed teachers evaluate proof of learning and skill implementation using a transparent rubric. Educators earn open digital badges that certify knowledge, skill, and experience. Badges can be posted and shared to show proficiency. WASC-accredited professional development units are offered optionally for most courses, ensuring rigor and value. Courses and assessments are designed for immediate classroom implementation of technology and learned skills.

How does the PD Learning Network work?

  1. The educator completes the online coursework and submits the assessment.
  2. Lesson Planet’s team of credentialed educators evaluates the assessment and provides assistance if needed.
  3. Digital badge is issued in 5 to 7 days.

Competency-Based Assessments

As part of the course, educators submit an assessment to demonstrate proficiency in applying new knowledge and skills. Lesson Planet’s credentialed teacher team evaluates each submission and provides support, feedback, and guidance to ensure successful completion. Digital badges represent a learner’s knowledge, skills, and experience in a subject area. They are proof of learning, and can be shared with stakeholders including: parents, administrators, and others within the community. Educators can post these badges to show professional qualifications and proof of their skills on résumés, social media, professional portfolios, employment applications, etc.

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How is Lesson Planet different from a general search engine?

Whereas a general search engine displays large numbers of unfiltered results, Lesson Planet focuses on high quality Open Educational Resources (OER) that are useful to teachers, such as lesson plans, units, projects, apps, videos, templates and more. Each of the resources has been summarized and rated by credentialed K-12 teachers, allowing members to rapidly locate relevant, high-quality curriculum. Lesson Planet also allows teachers to narrow their search by criteria specific to the classroom, including grade level, subject, standard, resource type, instructional strategy and more.

Where do the learning resources come from?

Lesson Planet does not actually host resources on its website. They review them and link users out to the websites that published them. Lesson Planet’s teacher curation and review teams comb the web for OER that educators need most. They curate resources in several different ways and based on information from a variety of sources.

How to Use Lesson Planet (in under a minute)

Who reviews the learning resources, and how are they reviewed?

Lesson Planet has a team of experienced, credentialed K-12 teachers who evaluate, summarize, review, and rate each resource in accordance with the Lesson Planet Review Guidelines. These have been developed to reflect current research and best educational practices. The expertise of their credentialed teacher reviewers is what sets Lesson Planet apart from other sites that may only use technological tools or crowdsourcing to assess a resource. Lesson Planet have on staff elementary and secondary teachers, Stanford and University of California education program teachers-of-teachers, specialists in English, math, science, social studies, special education, PE, edtech, even experienced homeschoolers, and more.

How does Lesson Planet ensure that the resources it links to are accessible?

Lesson Planet reviewers strive to provide current and functional resource links. To achieve this, they employ computer programs that monitor and test their database of links on a daily basis. They also rely on the Lesson Planet member community to help identify inappropriate, non-working, slow, or otherwise problematic links. Members can report these faulty links by clicking on the flag icon at the end of the resource summary at the top of a review page.

So, get ready to dig into a world of endless teaching resources, tailor-made to suit your teaching needs!

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Valentina is a Primary School teacher in Miami, Florida. She is an advocate for literacy and hands-on teaching. She enjoys creating arts & crafts projects with her students, setting up theatrical plays, and utilising innovative teaching resources.


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